, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 221–234 | Cite as

Educational attainment of children from single-parent families: Differences by exposure, gender, and race

  • Sheila Fitzgerald Krein
  • Andrea H. Beller
Demography of Children and Youth


This article examines the effect of living in a single-parent family on educational attainment by gender and race. According to household production theory, the reduction in parental resources for human capital investment in children living in a single-parent family should lower their educational attainment. Using matched mother-daughter and mother-son samples from the National Longitudinal Surveys, we constructed precise measures of the age and length of time a child lived in a single-parent family. Empirical findings show that the negative effect of living in a single-parent family (I) increases with the number of years spent in this type of family, (2) is greatest during the preschool years, and (3) is larger for boys than girls.


Educational Attainment National Longitudinal Survey Money Income Human Resource Research High School Variable 
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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheila Fitzgerald Krein
    • 1
  • Andrea H. Beller
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Family and Consumer Economics, School of Human Resources and Family StudiesUniversity of IllinoisUrbana

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